Silver Route  MEXICO (241)
SR 1
Silver route
Horseback riding in Mexico
Horseback riding in Mexico
Silver Route  MEXICO (41)
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This equestrian expedition in the highlands of Central Mexico allows horseback riders to enjoy beautiful and varied landscapes; semi-desert to oak forests, wetlands, rugged mountains to valleys of cactus, and also the opportunity to visit ghost towns, Indian chapels,and sites of great historical importance. Guanajuato, where the trail starts, is considered to be the geographic centre of the country and is surrounded by some of the most representative of Mexican sites, including San Miguel de Allende and Atotonilco, all declared by UNESCO as world heritage sites.

On this trail, horseback riders get the chance to experience the unseen, forgotten Mexico; colonial cities, majestic shrines, traditional Mexican rural communities, whilst always following the old Camino Real de Tierra Adentro, the "Silver Route". This historical route, using the same paths crossed by the Aztec messengers and pre-Aztec nomadic tribes, was revitalized and expanded with the arrival of the Spanish. Experience horseback riding in the same places where, hundreds of years ago, conquerors rode laden with gold and silver. They were followed later by the armies of independence in 1810 as well as the revolutionaries, led by Pancho Villa in 1900. This is undoubtedly the best way to discover the hidden treasures of 500 years of history, through ancient trails, haciendas and colonial heritage sites.

Read a personal account of this ride.

Please Note: The opinions expressed in these reviews are the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Unicorn Trails Ltd. These reviews are "directly from the horses mouth" and unedited. Unicorn Trails may make additional comments for clarification clearly identified in red.

Review received from MH of Rosemont on 06/02/2024

Ride Summary
What was your overall impression of the holiday
Overall impression
Unicorn Trails sales staff

Riding tour leader

Additional Comments
More variety in pace would have improved comfortably level.
Horses and Tack

Additional Comments



Was this trip accurately described to you beforehand?
Please give more details to explain your response:
Was there anything you should have known and were not told? NO
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What could we do to improve this ride?
Nothing comes to mind
How would you rate the difficulty of this ride out of 10 where 1 is very easy and 10 is very advanced?
Please explain why you scored it as you did:
There were no scary bits. Pace was slow/jog.
Would you recommend Unicorn Trails to your friends?
Please give more details to explain your response:
May we use you as a reference for other people wishing to go on this ride?
Any other comments:
Unicorn comments: Thank you for your feedback. Glad you had a great time! :)

Day 1
Transfer to the traditional Mexican ranch. On arrival, riders are met with a cocktail and can meet the team and get to know about the journey’s details. Enjoy a Ranchero barbecue welcome dinner with Mexican music by the light of the campfireAccommodation glamping at the Ranch.

Day 2
After breakfast the riders will meet and be allocated the perfect horse before starting the adventure from Colomitos to Peñafiel. The route passes rural communities before reaching the foothills of the Montecillo mountains. Ascend from 1900m to the old Cardones hacienda at 2,236m, crossing changing landscapes of semi-desert terrain to the majesty of the central mountain range. There is the chance to see several ancient ruins of mines and haciendas dating back hundreds of year, at Santo Niño, a village nestled in the mountains from the times of the Spanish colony. Cross the "Cardo River" and a chance to swim in the filtered water that comes from the sacred mountain spring water, a small natural pool in the middle of the desert. The landscape is reminiscent of a western movie. Reach the ancient remains of the Cardones Hacienda with its Lienzo Charro (Mexican horse Arena) at Peñafiel. The horses will remain here for the night, while the guests will be transferred to a hotel in the heart of Guanajuato’s historic center. Guanajuato is a colonial city with beautiful buildings that contain elements from the two main cultures that created the city, indigenous and Hispanic. It was declared by UNESCO as the “Historic Town of Guanajuato and Adjacent Mines” in December 1988.

Dinner will be served in the garden of the Union, where every night, regional music groups, like Mariachis, bands or trios entertain walkers with "Rancheras" (traditional songs). Accommodation in Hotel Posada Santa Fe (or similar).

Day 3
After breakfast, transfer to meet the horses and start today's adventure from the old silver mine to the Village of Santa Rosa, located in the heart of the central highlands. At 2,850m, ride the beautiful route along the old royal road, used 500 years ago during the Spanish colonial times to transport minerals (mainly gold and silver). Pass by old gold and silver mines and the rural communities of Peñafiel, Monte San Nicolas, Peregrina and Santa Rosa. The group can see 'The Christ of the Cubilete', located on Cubilete mountain it is considered as the geographic center of Mexico. Spend the afternoon with a delicious cocktail and tequila tasting at the mountain retreat terrace being entertained with Mexican music, followed by a typically Mexican dinner. Even the Mexican cuisine is recognized by UNESCO as an intangible and oral heritage of humanity. Lunch at Santa Rosa Village. Accommodation in a mountain retreat.

Day 4
After breakfast and meeting up with the horses, the ride heads through the central highlands through the most bio-diverse area of the state; full of high mountains, Oak, Pine and Arbutus forests. Bird song accompanies the riders as they pass through majestic and changing natural environments. There are amazing views of the area, with the huge mountains on one hand, and the semi-desert area on the other,. Keep a watch for coyote, puma and raccoon footprints on the path. The day's destination is the old hacienda stables where the horses will remain for the night. Riders are transferred to the hotel located in the heart of Dolores Hidalgo. Accommodation Hotel Hidalgo 4* (or similar).

Day 5
Today's ride visits one of the most important historical cities in Mexico, known as the "Cradle of Mexican Independence" since witnessing the famous cry for freedom (Grito de Libertad), which was the initial call by Priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, to take up arms against the colonial regime and the Spanish crown. Take a brief tour of some of the most emblematic buildings from the war for independence of Mexico, on horseback. Visit the "Wine Museum", a "Real Mexican Cantina", or just wander around to admire the local handicrafts. Dinner in a typical Mexican restaurant located in the main garden of an old house dating back to the eighteenth century, lit by fireflies flitting through the gardens and the fresh scent flower, and known for its traditional dishes.   Accommodation Hotel Hidalgo 4* (or similar).

Day 6
After breakfast and “café de la olla” (Mexican coffee), continue the journey on horseback, passing through the Cactus Valley and the historic hacienda “La Erre” (which played an important role during the war for independence) to the town of Atotonilco. Enjoy a picnic lunch in the picturesque town before heading to Atotonilco where riders can see the imposing walls from the eighteenth century Church where religious devotions still take place. This invaluable architectural treasure is known as the Sistine Chapel of Mexico, and is composed of a nave, sacristy and over 6 adjoining chapels and several dressing rooms, that are illustrated with murals and paintings, altars and sculptures. This majestic shrine is declared by UNESCO as world heritage site. Accommodation in Nirvana Hotel & SPA 5*(or similar).

Day 7 
After a poolside breakfast we will get ready to ride to the closest point to San Miguel de Allende, following old roads that were used 200 years ago during the war of independence, and through typically Mexican landscape to discover the Indian Chapels, a witness to the beliefs and devotion of the indigenous groups who left these religious monuments along the shore of  "Laja River". Keep an eye open for coyote, opossum, huizache and mesquite. This is the territory pre-Columbian tribes - a unique landscape that combines semi-desert with wetlands, and makes for an interesting journey. Say goodbye to the horses when the trail ends at San Miguel de Allende, the overnight destination (World Heritage Site/ UNESCO).  Accommodation in Hotel Acuarela (or similar). 

Day 8
After breakfast, set off on foot to visit San Miguel de Allende, known for its rich traditions. San Miguel is a town full of magic and mysticism that preserves its ancient traditions that can’t be found anywhere else. It is a place brimming with culture and art and is considered as a stage for different traditions and customs that occur in this magical country. It is recognised by UNESCO as a Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The riders are free to explore this historic city.

Itineraries are a guide only and can be subject to change depending on weather and conditions.


Additional sightseeing can be arranged - please enquire with your sales consultant.

Please note: All itineraries are given for your guidance only and it may be altered on the ground and in accordance with the prevailing conditions by the organising team.

Horses & Riding

The horses used on this trail are mainly Quarter horses and Mexican Criollo, they are fit, responsive and willing, ranging from 15hh - 16.2hh. The tack utilised is Mexican or Western as standard, although 2 English saddles are available on request.

Rider requirements

This trail requires a confident rider secure with all three paces. (walk, trot and canter), riders will be covering 25-35km/day over 5-7 hours so a reasonable fitness level is necessary.
Depending on the group, gallops in open spaces may be proposed by the guide. There will be some narrow paths to navigate both descending and climbing.
Riders can, if they want, saddle and unsaddle their horse but this is optional and the guide is happy to do this.
The minimum age for this ride is 14 years. Riders aged 14-18 must be accompanied by an adult and a signed letter of consent from the parent/guardian must be submitted.

Weight Limit

The weight limit for this ride is 242 lb/110 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.

Accommodation on this trail is of a high standard with en-suite rooms and hot water every night. Three of the hotels are 4/5* and have spa facilities and/or swimming pools to cool off after a long day in the saddle. The hotels have been chosen specifically for their traditional feel and colonial charm.

Meals are based on regional Mexican food and include: beef, pork, chicken, eggs, fruits, vegetables, cereals, rice, milk, coffee, natural fruit juices, purified bottled water.

During the trail, most of the food is prepared by the rural communities we visit, made with fresh ingredients and hygienically prepared. In many cases with pre-hispanic ancestral recipes, showcasing some unique flavours and textures.

Vegetarian or other dietary requirements within reason can be accommodated with advance notice. Please contact Unicorn Trails with requests before booking.

Documents - Visa and Consulate Info

Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct documentation in place for your trip. If Visa’s are required the requirements can change from year to year depending on diplomatic relations. Please request information from the appropriate Consulate in your home country. Unicorn Trails will assist with any questions you have or supply any necessary supporting documents as required by the consulate on request.

General information:

At the time of going to print visas are not required for UK passport holders, check or call on 0207 008 0232/0233 for up to date travel advice.

In Mexico City the UK high commission is at Rio Lerma 71, Col Cuauhtemoc, 06500 Mexico City, Rio Lerma 71,Col Cuauhtémoc ,06500 México City. Tel: (52) (55) 5242 8500 Fax: (52) (55) 5242 8517.

The Mexican Embassy in the U.K is at 16 St George Street, Mayfair, London, W1S 1LX. Tel: 020 7499 8586 Fax: 020 7495 4035 Email:

Climate Summary

This ride can be done all time of the year, as specified in the program dates. It depends on the participant’s wishes, as from January to March, cooler weather; April to June is drier and hot, from June to December, more humidity and temperate climate.
January to March: fresh (day: 17 to 23 ° C - night: 8 to 12 ° C), Rain (unlikely).
April to June: hot (Day: 25 to 40 ° C - night: from 23 to 28 ° C), Rain. Rare in June
June to September: average temperature (day: 17 to 25 ° C - night: from 12 to 20 ° C), Rainy season.
Common at the late evening
October to December: Mexican cold! (Day: 17 to 25 ° C - night: 5 to 10 ° C), Rain. Low

Climate Chart


COVID: Be sure to check the latest COVID regulations for travelling in any country you visit.

Health authorities have classified Mexico as having a risk of Zika virus transmission.

On arrival in Mexico City and other high altitude areas, you may feel a lack of energy, shortness of breath or headaches.

Drink only boiled or bottled water and avoid ice in drinks.

Please refer to your country’s latest health guideline for travel in Mexico and contact your own GP for up to date advice on vaccinations and prophylaxis prior to travel.

Please take along sun cream and anti-allergy medicine for possible insect bites.

Health (ride specific)

There are no specific health requirements in the area of the ride although do remember sun block - the ride takes place at some altitude and the sun is always stringer the higher you are. Please see your doctor for the most up to date information.
At the time of going to print visas are not required for most European and US/Canadaian citizens but do check with the Mexican embassy before travelling.


In Mexico the supply voltage is 127V. If the appliance or its power supply are not dual voltage rated, the single voltage appliance will have to be used alongside a voltage transformer or converter to allow the appliance to work safely and properly (unless the appliance operates at 127V).

Mobile, WiFi and charging

Film and camera equipment is widely available in Leon and other towns en route but we advise to take along plenty just in case. Digital camera's can be charged at the hotels overnight with suitable adaptors (US style).

Packing List

Hat or cap
Sun block
Handkerchief or bandana (for neck)
Comfortable shoes for after riding
Summer shirts (2)
Long-sleeved shirt (2)
Pants comfortable to ride (2)
Waterproof jacket in case of rain (0.26 cm prec. prom)
Light jacket for warm weather (average temperature / / Day 25 / / night 8th)
Leggings or chaps
Camera and / or video camcorder with sufficient batteries.

Chafing cream

Additional list:

• Valid international passport
• Visas (if necessary)
• Recommended Currency: Mexican Pesos, U.S. Dollars or Euros.
• Personal medication
• Travel diary Guides, etc...
• Medical Card (to be delivered to the guide).


This is a 8 days/7 nights with 6 days riding, available on set dates throughout the year. Other dates are available on request for groups of 4 or more. There is also a special New Year programme available.

This ride can be confirmed for 1-3 riders if the supplement is paid by all participants (3 = 15%, 2 = 25%, 1 = 35%). This will be refunded if more book on.

Departure Dates

2024: 17 Jan; 7 Feb; 6, 20 Mar; 21 Aug; 4 Sept; 2 Oct (FULL); 4 Dec.

No single supplement is charged if the rider is willing to share with someone of the same sex, and a sharer can be found.
No of   
Riding days Product item description £
20248d/7n6double pp2,335
20248d/7n6single supplement385
No of   
Riding days Product item description
20248d/7n6double pp2,769
20248d/7n6single supplement459
No of   
Riding days Product item description US $
20248d/7n6double pp3,115
20248d/7n6single supplement515
No of   
Riding days Product item description SEK
20248d/7n6double pp31,739
20248d/7n6single supplement5,245
Recommended Reading

Sons of the Shaking Earth - Eric Wolf. A wonderfully readable introduction to Mexican history.

The Maya (Ancient Peoples and Places) - Michael D Coe

Aztecs: An Interpretation - Inga Clendinnen. A fascinating, thought-provoking and vividly dramatic look into the heart of Aztec society.

Distant Neighbors: A Portrait of the Mexicans - Alan Riding, is an excellent guide to understanding modern Mexico and its love-hate relationship with the United States.

So Far So God: A Journey to Central America - Patrick Marnham. A vivid account of a trip from California, through Mexico to the badlands of Central America. The title comes from the saying 'Poor Mexico! So far from God, so close to the United States.' 

Like Water For Chocolate - Laura Esquivel. This book created a huge interest in things Mexican when it was published in 1989. Set in rural Mexico at the time of the revolution, the novel manages to combine fantasy with recipes. 

All the Pretty Horses - Cormac McCarthy. A poetic tale of three young latter-day cowboys riding south of the border.

European novelists have long been attracted by Mexico. Graham Greene's 1930s travelogue The Lawless Roads and his great novel The Power and the Glory; Aldous Huxley's Beyond the Mexique Bay and DH Lawrence's burdensome The Plumed Serpent, which is intent on asking all the big questions about Mexican life.

The Mango Orchard: The extraordinary true story of a family lost and found   A young Englishman who travelled in Columbia, Guatemala and Mexico, in part to trace the fascinating story of his great grandfather's adventures in Central America a century ago. There is a great twist at the end, which we won't spoil.

Of course a mandatory copy of Lonely Plant Guide is invaluable.

Other Activities

Swimming in the pool, enjoy good Mexican tequila and wine (!), reading, playing cards, listening to Mexican music.


Type of vegetation you can observe: Semi-desertic area, Valles of cactus, oak and madrone, forest, wetlands.

Type of animals you can observe: Cougars, coyotes, bobcats, raccoons, foxes, ringtails, Hare, Armadillos, opossums, deer, snakes, pumas and more than 100 bird species.

How can you guaranty to see animals? We cannot guarantee that we will see animals in the forest because they get frightened hearing us arriving. But our staff are highly trained in animal observation, which gives us a lot of probability that we´ll see some. In addition, during our expedition we will show several of the tracks that animals leave in their walk, and some traces. To give an idea of richness and biodiversity we have in this region.

Other Country Information

Mexico is a vast country. The Sierra Madre and Rocky Mountains run south from the border with the US. The interior consists of an elevated plateau. Northern Mexico is dry and desert-like, while the south is mountainous jungle containing the ruins of ancient Mayan and Aztec city complexes. These indigenous civilizations are credited with many inventions including: building pyramid-temples, mathematics, astronomy, medicine, highly-accurate calendars, fine arts, intensive agriculture, engineering, an abacus calculation, a complex theology, and the wheel. Without any draft animals the wheel was used only as a toy. The only metals they apparently knew how to use were native copper and gold.

The people of Mexico today are a mixture of descendants from Spanish and other immigrants, mainly Europeans, who settled in Mexico from the sixteenth century onwards, and mestizos - mixed European and indigenous ancestry, as well as the many indigenous groups. It is a nation where affluence, poverty, natural splendour and urban blight rub shoulders. It is also one of the worlds most bio-diverse countries with an incredible and colourful array of fauna and fauna.

Mexico is six to eight hours behind GMT and they use the metric weights and measures system, so kilometres and kilograms instead of miles and pounds. There is approximately 1.6 kilometres in a mile and 2.2 pounds in a kilogram.

The international dialling code is +52.

Travel Summary

Meeting-point (getting there):
At the Ranch
2024: Group: private transfer to the ranch from Guanajuato City (up to 8 people )approximately $ 100 each way. Payable on site.
Taxi from International airport (BJX) to the meeting place (from 1 up to 4 people) approximately $ 70 each way. Payable on site.
(subject to change)

Flight Guide:
London - Guanajuato International Airport (BJX) return from £750pp
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